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Uncle Sam Looks To Expand Wiretap Authority. Again.
As the NY Times imagines a world where we're not already spied on constantly...
by Karl Bode 01:13PM Tuesday Oct 19 2010
Despite the fact the phone companies now act as part time FBI surveillance analysts with a fleeting regard to law, and dump U.S. citizen data wholesale through NSA listening posts, Uncle Sam still apparently isn't happy with its wiretap authority. The NY Times, oddly ignoring recent history of unprecedented telco involvement in surveillance, notes that Uncle Sam is pushing hard to expand laws requiring broadband companies are ready and willing to respond to wiretap needs:
The officials say tougher legislation is needed because some telecommunications companies in recent years have begun new services and made system upgrades that caused technical problems for surveillance. They want to increase legal incentives and penalties aimed at pushing carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast to ensure that any network changes will not disrupt their ability to conduct wiretaps.
The push to revamp CALEA is part of a broader effort to extend the law so it includes VoIP companies like Skype, social networking websites like Facebook, and P2P software applications. But the FBI is also looking to expand its leverage over carriers that don't respond in a timely fashion to CALEA requests -- either through fines or by billing companies if government technicians are required to come in and deal with technical problems.

The Times article is annoyingly free of pesky context, ignoring unprecedented expansion of surveillance authority begun by Bush and continued by the Obama administration. As such, it's already difficult to tell where companies like AT&T end and the government begins, something evident by the security-sector response to AT&T's new private sector smartphone encryption platform unveiled earlier this month.

The Times says this new push is "the latest example of a dilemma over how to balance Internet freedom with security needs" and the FBI is "seeking only to prevent its surveillance power from eroding." You have to wonder how the government's surveillance authority is eroding after a decade of unprecedented expansion on this front -- and what former AT&T employee turned whistleblower Mark Klein thinks about this supposed concern for "balance."

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Broadway, NC

4 recommendations

reply to FFH5

Re: Yep, not suprised

said by FFH5:

said by tubbynet:

said by FFH5:

Those who think we should be on the total liberty end of the continuum don't live in the real world
and neither do the people who argue for total security through any means necessary. the only difference is that when [current threat] can be used to invoke fear and worry regarding {national security; terrorism; puppy murder}, the argument is easier to con the masses with.

Obviously you think we are too far towards the total security end of the continuum. I don't think so. That end is populated by N.Korea, Cuba, China, etc. I think we are somewhere in the middle, which most people are comfortable with.
Regardless of what you or "tubbynet" think, the truth is that we have gone too far into the paranoid and lost sight of the sane. When the Government has carte blanch ability to monitor anything they wish, for any reason they wish, without proper and independent Judicial review before said monitoring can take place, you have gone over the garden fence and are goose stepping your way through the field on the other side...

Are there dangers in the world? Without a doubt. Are there evil people in the world? Again, no argument. Can the Government be trusted to overstep their authority (name your branch)? You bet!

This is why the Government was designed with checks and balances in the Constitution. What do you do however when the balance gets so far out of whack you start to suspect that it will never be restored? The answer, as history shows again and again, is that the repercussions can become extreme and unpleasant (to say the least) when the people themselves are forced to act...

Food for thought (I hope)...


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